AFRO 1917: Inequality and the American Dream

3 CreditsFreshman Seminar

Increasing and intensifying inequality is perhaps the most pressing socio-economic problem of our time. A significant threat to democracy, the American dream, and national values of diversity and inclusion, wealth inequality today has not only surpassed that of the Great Depression but also grafted onto longstanding, intersectional cleavages of race, gender, indigeneity, class, and sexuality. The richest one percent have captured nearly 60 percent of all income gains from 1977 to 2000, and in 2010, the top 20 percent of households owned almost 90 percent of all privately held wealth in the United States, while the net worth of the bottom 40 percent was negative. Simultaneously, much of the current political polarization, cultures of resentment, and rise in scapegoating and racist anti-immigrant actions have also been attributed to the attendant consequences of rising inequality, anxiety, and insecurity. And yet, many social critics argue that instead of addressing the key causes of inequality and the crisis of the American dream, the powerful in society have seized on these conditions to mobilize an avalanche of discontent among sectors of the downwardly mobile in a way that often obscures the key reasons for their predicament and scapegoats those at the social margins. Given this context, it is imperative to better understand and analyze the histories, cultural assumptions, and hierarchies that have produced contemporary inequality. How did we get to this point? What are the consequences, and what might we expect in the future? This set of seminars asks these hard questions and engages in precisely this exploration. These four freshman seminars (AFRO 1917, ANTH 1917, GWSS 1917, HIST 1917) will occasionally meet together, and will bring together scholars across multiple disciplines (African American Studies, Anthropology, Feminist Studies, History, and beyond) who are substantively engaged with scholarship on class, race, indigeneity, gender, and sexuality. We believe that this cross-fertilization is critical because the fault-lines of inequality have precisely cohered to these structural formations and categories of analysis.

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A- Average (3.702)Most Common: A (45%)

This total also includes data from semesters with unknown instructors.

20 students
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  • 4.53


  • 4.41



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